BY BRUCE MACDOUGALL
Congratulations to the municipal leaders, the Government of P.E.I. and everyone involved in the mediation process for restructuring in the Three Rivers area. Hard work and co-operation have resulted in a proposal that that considers the interests of the entire area and has the approval of all seven municipal councils.
Municipalities play such a big part of what makes our Island such a great place to live. Municipal parks, recreation facilities and programs, libraries, long-term planning and a long list of other services improve our quality of life, protect the things we value about our community and create conditions for economic growth.
In the Three Rivers area, a larger municipal government would be better positioned to take advantage of local opportunities and address current and future challenges. For example, a declining population is a serious concern that would be better addressed by combining the efforts and resources of the entire area through a larger, stronger municipality.
We only need to look within our own province to see the benefits of municipal restructuring. Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall are all doing great things that are possible because amalgamation combined the resources of several communities in 1995.
I know from personal experience that restructuring wasn’t easy in Summerside. As a councillor with the former Community of St. Eleanors at that time, I was not in favor of the amalgamation process. Today, as I look back at the progress and transformation that has taken place within the new City of Summerside, I have no doubt that it was the right thing to do. Countless positive changes have taken place because several municipalities joined together. The waterfront redevelopment, the wellness centre, the wind farm, event attraction and our work on economic development are just a few examples.
Several reports over many years have identified concerns about municipal capacity and boundaries on P.E.I. Creating larger, stronger municipal governments will strengthen both individual communities and our Island as a whole. I’m very pleased by the efforts to find a path forward for the Three Rivers area.
- Bruce MacDougall, President, Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities